Tag Archives: Entourage

Pixels

At its best, Pixels is The Big Bang Theory of movies.  That’s not a compliment.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

pixels 1There are currently three potential reviews for Pixels floating around in my head.  All are equally, vehemently negative, but each takes the film to task for a different set of faults.  Yeah, this one really is as bad as you’ve heard it and were expecting it to be.  It’s not quite Entourage levels of bad, but it is really, really damn close.  It is a complete failure as a movie, littered with plot and logic holes that you can drive multiple cement trucks through and boasting atrocious performances and lifeless direction, it is a complete failure as nerd bait, such is the absolute contempt that it shows for those it spends 100 minutes pandering to, and it is a misogynistic piece of utter tripe that caused my blood to genuinely boil in anger at multiple points.

This is horrible.  This is absolutely horrible.  To pay money – real actual cash actual money cash real actual dollar – to watch this movie is to enable all of the horrible, self-absorbed people who were involved in this film’s creative process.  Pixels is a movie that hates its target audience – which, bewilderingly, is videogame lovers who matured in the 80s instead of young kids today who love videogames – hates them all with a fiery passion, but loves itself unabashedly, and so spends its entire runtime insulting the characters that its cast are playing whilst flinging adoring wish-fulfilment affection on its cast and the Adam Sandler personality, otherwise known as all of the worst parts of nerdom.

This is not a movie.  This is Happy Madison’s self-insert fan-fiction about how awesome they are.

Our film starts in 1982, and teenager Sam Brenner is the greatest whiz at videogames who ever lived.  Encouraged by his friend Will Cooper, he enters the 1982 World Videogame Championships, meets the incredibly creepy and paranoid Ludlow Lamonsoff, and promptly loses in the final round to self-absorbed cool gamer Eddie Plant.  The Championships are recorded and used as part of a space probe filled with examples of Earth culture, intended to educate any alien race that finds it.  33 years later, Earth is invaded by aliens who have taken the games as a sign of war.  However, the world can be saved if the citizens of Earth can defeat the aliens in giant real-life versions of classic arcade games, so President Cooper (Kevin James, really) recruits Sam (Adam Sandler), Ludlow (Josh Gad, who has officially burnt up all the goodwill he earned from playing Olaf), and Eddie (Peter Dinklage for some ungodly reason) to save the planet.

“That doesn’t sound so bad,” I hear some foolish optimist say in the far-off background.  Ah, but you see, I haven’t mentioned the specifics.  Let’s start by talking more about Ludlow Lamonsoff because OH WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT LUDLOW LAMONSOFF.  It would be lazily offensive enough if Ludlow was just a hyper-paranoid basement-dwelling nerd who frequently gets into shouting matches with his grandma and believes that The Zapruda Film was edited because “JFK shot first” (in just one example of this film throwing a bunch of random things you know together to create something meaningless yet is supposed to be a joke).  But, no.  It is far, far, far worse than that.

Ludlow is in love with the lead character of an 80s arcade game called Lady Lisa.  In the 80s portion, he sits around creepily holding conversations with the sprite who is incapable of responding in any way shape or form.  Flash forward 33 years and his obsession has not faltered at all.  He has a full-on shrine to her, constantly notes how he has tried to bring her into reality, and frequently makes reference to wishing to marry her.  This is played for goofball “NERD!” laughs, along with the rest of his personality, instead of the deeply-troubling stunted behaviour that it really is.  And, somehow, this ends up plumbing even lower depths once the aliens inevitably use her as one of their invading force soldiers later on.  I can’t get into it here because spoilers – early next week on my new website (callumpetch.com), there will be a spoiler-filled look at the awfulness of this whole thing – but you had better believe that it caused me to shout “FUCK YOU!” at the film in the middle of a semi-crowded screening.

Eddie, meanwhile, is currently in prison for various incredibly unimportant reasons.  His demands for his release include his own island, a helicopter, not having to pay taxes, and a three-way with Serena Williams and Martha Stewart.  He gets the last two, which, yes, means that he is being paid in women who have no say in the matter.  The film, in fairness, wheels this back somewhat, before plunging ahead full-steam just before the credits roll as yet another part of one of the most hatefully sexist final reels I have ever seen in a blockbuster motion picture.

Then there is Sam.  Sam is The Adam Sandler Character, surprising nobody since this is a Happy Madison movie.  You know the drill by now: aggressively mean, ragingly sexist, spends almost all of the time that the movie runs for insulting his love interest – this time being thanklessly played by Michelle Monaghan and, good lord, what dirt did the casting director have on this lot (which also includes Brian Cox, Sean Bean, and a Jane Krakowski who is quite literally just a background decoration that hangs off of Kevin James’ arm in her every appearance) to get them to appear in this?! – and making claims like she’s a snob for not wanting to have sex with him.  Oh, did I forget to mention that they both meet very shortly after she finds out that her high-school-sweetheart husband is divorcing her and that Sam is the one who keeps initiating the flirting against her will?  Cos those are things that happen.

Now, in fairness, if this was where our cast started and they grew and changed as the movie went on, then maybe I’d be able to let this slide.  As a bunch of terrible people grew up emotionally into non-shitty people who could move on from their glory days and manchild ways.  But that’s not what happens.  In fact, none of these people change.  At all.  These characters remain the exact same for 105 minutes barring one development for Sam, which doesn’t actually have anything to do with him improving as a person, and Eddie, who becomes less of a jerk to guys and also has a development that has nothing to do with him as a person.  There are no arcs, no real developments, no change, no growth.  These people start off as they are and then are rewarded for how they are with fame and women despite being terrible raging sexists.

And it’s not just offensive in how that leads to a glamorisation of all of the worst, most entitled parts of geekiness and nerdom – the ones who completely believed their parents when they were told by them that one day everything will come to them and that women will love them for who they are, and so never changed – it’s offensive in how it leads to a movie with nothing going on.  Oh, sure, there are big (supposedly) expensive action scenes and world-ending stakes, but there’s nothing really going on.  No depth, nothing below the surface that isn’t just being ragingly, actively sexist.

Why are any of these people the way that they are, besides fodder for snobby outdated and lazy “NERDS!” jokes?  Why is Kevin James’ president character still friends with Adam Sandler 33 years on, for reasons other than “to make the plot happen”?  Why does the offending game footage have to be captured from the championships that our characters enter?  Other than the fact that they use some of the games that the guys have played, it’s never once brought up even though this information in the prologue SHOULD ACTUALLY MEAN SOMETHING!  Why mention that the aliens were once a peaceful race until they found the probe if that’s not actually going to mean anything in the finale?!  You’d think that would lead to an ending that’s solved through words instead of pointless power fantasy wish fulfilment, but nope!  Evil aliens!  Donkey Kong!

That kind of absolute laziness abounds throughout so much of the film that I don’t feel guilty for nitpicking, because it’s indicative of how little thought went into the movie as a whole.  Why do the humans spend the first and last games being the good guys, yet spend the Pac-Man game being the ghosts?  Why does Q*bert not speak Q*bertese?  Why are there things like Tetris and Max Headroom running about when they came well after 1982, which is when the probe went up?  Since Q*bert is a trophy given to the humans after winning a game, why do the aliens refer to him as a traitor later on?  They GAVE THE HUMANS Q*Bert!  Why is Lady Lisa, during the full-on invasion, rendered as a real person instead of an 8-bit sprite?  What is the deal with the entire Iwatani – who is not the real Professor Iwatani, although the real Iwatani does cameo, so, other question: why isn’t Iwatani just playing himself – Pac-Man segment?  Everybody knows that these are aliens pretending to be videogame characters so why, in this moment, does everybody pretend that they aren’t?

Since when can you perform cheat codes in Arcade games?  Why can this somehow translate to reality?  And, more importantly, WHY THE FUCK IS THIS GLARING FACTUAL INACCURACY A CENTRAL GODDAMN PLOT POINT?!

See, that right there is all the evidence one needs to realise that Pixels is not fit for purpose.  Seriously, WHO IS THIS MOVIE FOR?  It’s definitely not for kids, despite the focus on videogames and the presence of characters and games like Donkey Kong and Pac-Man, because most of its “humour” traffics in sex gags, 80s references, gay panic jokes, and outdated “NERD!” stereotypes, not to mention the toxic sexism that developing minds should be kept far away from.  It’s not even for nerds, because it spends 105 minutes spitting in their faces with every last lazy cliché that has ever been levelled at nerds over the years – the movie equivalent of The Big Bang Theory.  Christ, it’s arguably not even for those who matured in the 80s, since it doesn’t do anything with any part of its set-up that a million other films haven’t done better.

No, Pixels is for Happy Madison.  It’s for Adam Sandler, it’s for Kevin James, it’s for the film’s director Chris Columbus.  This is their self-insert power-fantasy, where they play terrible man-children who are hated by the world for (at least according to the film’s point of view) no good reason, until they end up saving us all without having to grow or change or improve as people and we all love them because, aww, they’re not such bad guys after all(!)  And then women throw themselves at them for being so amazing and everything ends peachy-keen.  What really gets me is that the film is so blatant about this.  There’s no pretence that this is anything other than an extended ego-stroking or masturbation session that we are all voluntarily subjecting ourselves to.

Do you want to know how obvious this is?  Kevin James plays The President Of The United States.  He’s apparently near-illiterate, and he starts the film off being hated, seemingly because his policies are causing financial ruin for the younger generation and he’s lead America into some kind of war.  But he’s just such a lovable bumbling kind-hearted kinda guy who just wants to spend time with his wife and friends, and can’t the media just get off his back already?  And then, once he starts turning the tide of the alien invasion, EVERYBODY loves him!  This is represented by a scene in which a dastardly reporter tries to trip him up at a press conference with a tough question filled with big words but is foiled because every other journalist shouts at the mean reporter, Kevin James gives a witty answer, and we end the scene with everybody pointing and laughing at the meany-pants reporter who is crying after being thoroughly served.

You know what?  I retract my sub-heading.  At least The Big Bang Theory is made for the enjoyment of other people.  Pixels exists to serve nobody but the people who made it as a 105 minute exercise in them telling themselves that they are awesome as they are and everybody who says otherwise is a mean-old jerk.  The very last thing that any of us should do is enable this shit by giving them money for it.

Callum Petch got Pac-Man fever, it’s driving him crazy.  He now writes for his own website (callumpetch.com)! Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

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Magic Mike XXL

Never before has the tagline “You’re Welcome” been so appropriate and so accurate.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

xxlMagic Mike XXL is in the business of giving the people exactly what they want.  It knows that the people turned up to Magic Mike to see really, really ridiculously good-looking men strip for their enjoyment for 100-odd minutes, and occasionally some plot would intrude on the sidelines to give everyone a breather – in other words: they turned up to see the film that they were sold.  Instead, audiences were treated to a rather serious dramedy about those affected by the recession and who only use male stripping as a way to make ends meet, whilst the stripping segments were shot and treated like Soderbergh was resentful of even having to include them as they got in the way of his serious dramedy that he would really like for you to pay attention to, dammit!  This isn’t a problem, because the film is great and it’s Soderbergh so of course it’s great, but it’s not what the people initially wanted.

XXL is nothing but giving people what they want.  It may start off seeming like we’re going to get more of the first Magic Mike, with a pensive shot of Mike staring off at the ocean looking miserable, but that is quickly revealed to be a misdirection, a reverse of the first film.  Instead, XXL is pretty much 115 minutes of really, really ridiculously good-looking men gyrating in pretty much every last possible direction there is to gyrate in whilst the women on-screen lose their minds, broken up by sequences of these Best Bros For Life hanging out, ribbing on each other, and only sort-of-seriously contemplating their various futures.  XXL is here to please, to (what some could see as) an almost cynical degree.

Not that I much care, because Donald Glover just walked down the stairs with a fashionable trilby, a dinner jacket with no shirt on underneath, and is now serenading this young woman with an improvised half-rap-half-crooned song because she needs a man to remind her of just how special she is and Donald Glover is precisely the man to do that job… and then he strips off his clothes and starts gyrating in her direction whilst the other ladies rain dollar bills from upon high.  Look, Magic Mike XXL is exactly what it says it’s going to be, no bullshit, and I LOVE it for that.  I sat down to see impossibly good-looking men, and also Kevin Nash but if that’s your kind of thing then you’ll receive no judgement from me, strip and dance for my enjoyment for nearly two hours, and I got the very best possible version of that!

There’s a part of me that wants to sit here and compare it to the first Magic Mike, as most everybody else will, but it really resists that.  By its very nature as blatant fan-service, XXL is blazing a very different trail to that of the original film.  That one was very bittersweet, very cynical, it has moments of joy and fun, but it’s wrapped up in these constant reminders that our protagonists are sad or angry people and that Mike doesn’t want to be a male stripper all his life.  Couple that with almost all of the stripping sequences being cut short or shot at a distance, and you get a film that acts more as a cautionary tale about the “male entertainer” business than a celebration of it.

XXL is the exact opposite of that.  There are scenes of our cast – which, for the record, consists of Mike (Channing Tatum), Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), Ken (Matt Bomer), Tito (Adam Rodriguez), and Tarzan (Kevin Nash), and Mike has joined the rest of the guys for one last ride up to Myrtle Beach for the 2015 Male Stripper Convention – wondering aloud about what they’re going to do when this is all over, but these are fleeting at most.  Everyone is instead here to enjoy the ride, to go out in style, because everybody loves what they do and tomorrow will come with what may.  It therefore feels more celebratory, more accepting of the male stripping business, instead of lumping it in as something that everyone is quietly ashamed of doing and therefore making it appear like a lesser life-choice.

Or, to better explain, it’s best encapsulated by a monologue delivered by Andre (the character that Donald Glover plays and, incidentally, I did not know that I needed Donald Glover abs in my life until this film showed me them) about two-thirds into the film.  He relates to Ken how he first got into the industry in order to get more money, in the hopes that the cash would help him fund and further his rap career, thinking that he would hate the gig and resent himself for sinking so low.  But over time, he found the work rewarding, enjoyable, motivating, empowering.  He gets to meet loads of girls every night and he gets to make them feel better, make them feel alright for five wonderful minutes, and he loves the feeling that comes from that.  And if his EP took off tomorrow, he’d try and find a way to keep it going on the side because he enjoys stripping that much.  The film agrees with him, too: these men are providing a service, their job isn’t beneath them because there’s nothing wrong with it to begin with.

And though these guys do it for the thrill of the crowd and the adoration of women across the country, they’re not lecherous creeps or disrespectful arses.  They respect women, enough to keep interactions professional when working and to respect if a woman is not interested in them when not working.  They may ask each other if they got laid the previous night – or, as they actually say in the film, “Did you bangy?” – but nobody is seriously insulted if they don’t, and when Richie expresses a desire to find the one – for, you see, his nickname is not an exaggeration and that fact intimidates pretty much every woman he tries to have sex with – the rest of the guys are nothing but supportive of him for it.  They tease each other, with Ken’s insistence that he is a “Grade 3 Reiki healer” being a constant target for mockery, but they never cross over into bullying and it all comes from a loving place.

If Entourage is a walking encapsulation of everything wrong with “bro-culture” and the entire concept of “bros”, Magic Mike XXL is a sharp rebuttal against the idea that “bro-culture” is just that.  These are legitimately charming and likeable men who are still dudes and bros, but are self-aware enough to not be misogynistic bullies.  Their bonds are strong and genuine, since the film gives everyone more than enough time and moments to interact with one another and display that legitimate affection.  For an example of that respectfulness, Mike spends a fair bit of the movie bonding with a girl called Zoe (Amber Heard).  He clearly wants to sleep with her, but she resists the idea and the two instead become teasing friends throughout the rest of the movie, through things like her mocking him for preferring cookies over cake – “Cookie people can’t be trusted” she quite rightly notes – or him giving her the lap dance to end all lap dances at the film’s end.  Does it matter that she feels superfluous to the plot, like she was meant to have some significance at some point but that got drafted out?  No, no it does not because she still feels well-drawn and is a really likeable screen presence.

Besides, this is a movie about giving the people what they want.  That’s why there are quite literally zero stakes, because that runs the risk of dampening the mood.  It’s a fun, happy-times hang-out movie when it’s not walking right up to the line of softcore pornography.  Speaking of: god, every single one of this film’s stripping segments are amazing!  This is a film that takes great pleasure in getting its cast members to debase themselves for the enjoyment of straight women, gay men, and bisexual folks everywhere, the camera providing excellent views of every gyration, every twerk, every slide, every bicep, ab, heavenly blue eyes that you can just get lost in.  Joe Mangianello gets high on MDMA and proceeds to turn a gas station store into a non-stop playground of sexual innuendo that barely gets away from being straight up sex, Channing Tatum says his name whilst twirling out of the room because that is the dreamiest fucking thing I have ever seen in my entire life, Matt Bomer imitates Justin Timberlake imitating Michael Jackson for 5 wonderful minutes, and the film ends with 20 straight minutes of male stripping before going directly to the credits because that’s what we all came here to see and why pretend otherwise?

And the film anchors this with both a cast of wonderful, charming, and charismatic men who are willing and eager to allow themselves to be taken apart and looked at as lust-after-able and loveable man meat, and a nearly show-stealing Jada Pinkett Smith.  I want to really stress this: in the movie equivalent of the viewer being the cheese slap-bang in the middle of a delicious beefcake sandwich for 115 glorious minutes, Jada Pinkett Smith is the one who almost steals the entire film out from under everybody.  She plays Roma, an MC at a stripper club for women of colour that Mike used to dance at.  She exudes confidence, she calls her enraptured audience members “queens” and treats them as such, she sends some of her most beautiful black men after plus-sized women because she knows that they are just as deserving of this treatment as everyone else is, she can reign the bros in but she’s not humourless, she’s bisexual but the film does not make a big deal out of it, she grabs ahold of that microphone and introduces each and every man with the exact kind of showmanship required, and she oozes so much charm that I was practically seconds away from shouting back at the screen, “Yes, you wonderful and amazing woman!  Thank you for these gifts from above!”

Look… I could sit here and lie to you all that I love this film for its forward-thinking attitudes towards the business of stripping, for its naturalistic but incredibly funny dialogue, for its unwavering commitment to shooting its male cast and the entire film in the female and homosexual gaze for once in this miserable patriarchal industry.  I could sit here and lie about how the film’s lack of any real message or theme hurts it, how a runtime just shy of two hours makes the whole experience drag, and how its insistence on giving women what it thinks they want is just as condescending and insulting as it is desperately trying to not be.  But I can’t do any of those things.  Because they’re lies, and I can’t lie to you in a review, doing so defeats the entire concept of the form.

No, I love this film because Joe Mangianello’s super suggestive gas station number is set to “I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys and myself and my friend Lucy both collectively – along with the 8 people that were in our audience during out 11:30 on a Friday morning screening, oh how I wish I had gotten to see this film at night with a full crowd – lost our shit once the song started up.  I love this film because Matt Bomer has the voice of an angel, the body of a Michelangelo sculpture, and eyes that make any human being Bomer-sexual through even just the tiniest of exposures, and this film utilises them for all that they’re worth.  I love this movie because Channing Tatum can do things with his hips that make my hips do things of an entirely different nature.

And I do not feel ashamed about any of this.  I know that I, as a film critic, am supposed to demand more from the cinema that is put in front of us for our consumption, for more than surface-level enjoyment and eye candy, and that loving this movie for those surface-level reasons risks making me a hypocrite, one of those “stop pandering, unless you’re pandering to me” kinda guys.  But, well, isn’t this more?  A mainstream Hollywood movie made within the studio system that treats women respectfully, is embracing and loving of the stripping profession, and takes great pleasure in objectifying the everloving fuck out of some gorgeous guys for the sole and purposeful entertainment of straight women, gay men, and bisexuals the world over?  Can we get any more than this?  Doesn’t that make Magic Mike XXL something special?

I don’t know.  All I know is that I enjoyed every last second of this wonderful, glorious, beautiful thing, that I needed a cold shower afterwards, and that, barring a second half that somehow just shits out solid gold week in week out, this will be on my Top 10 Films of 2015 come the end of December, and it will be very, very high.  And it will be because really, really ridiculously good-looking men spent roughly 115 minutes gyrating for my personal enjoyment.

Callum Petch needs a roughneck brother that can satisfy him.  Listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio (site link) and follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

US Box Office Report: 19/06/15 – 21/06/15

When dinosaurs ruled the box office, Inside Out/Inside Win, people sadly Just Say “Nope” to Dope, Manglehorn gets mangled, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Before we move on, a brief apology and correction.  Last week, we reported that Jurassic World had scored the second-highest opening weekend of all-time at the domestic box office with $204 million.  Well it turns out that we misreported those numbers and I would like to apologise for that.  Jurassic World actually made $208 million and is, therefore, actually the highest grossing opening weekend of all-time domestically.  The Avengers has, in fact, been dethroned.  In my defence, I can only work from the estimates, since the actuals don’t come in until late-afternoon on a Monday and I have sh*t to do then, which is why these get written on a Sunday night.

Hence why I don’t want to make any definitive statements regarding Jurassic World’s box office performance this weekend, record-wise.  Whatever happens, it is finishing in first place, but the box office records are what’s in contention.  Currently, the film is sat on $102 million for its second weekend, which puts it almost exactly $1 million below The Avengers’ record-breaking second weekend, but the numbers are so close that, and since Universal under-estimated last weekend, there is every chance that Jurassic World’s actuals will push it higher than The Avengers after all.  It’s already a pure and total unstoppable juggernaut that will pass $400 million domestic by lunchtime, so it’s not like this is much of a stretch.  Just saying, if it does happen, you can’t say I got it wrong, cos I’m not definitively saying anything!  So there!

What will be indisputable, unless some kind of catastrophic error causes 15 million bucks to mysteriously go missing between now and the actuals coming in, is the success of Inside Out, which now holds the record for the biggest domestic opening weekend ever for a non-sequel non-adaptation, taking the title from Avatar’s $77 million opening weekend back in December of 2009.  I mean, technically one could argue that it does count as a sequel in the sense that it’s a part of the Pixar brand that might as well be a franchise unto itself by this point, but I’m just going to block that out and savour this Avatar-crushing moment.  Aaaaaahhhh… that feels good.

Unfortunately, all this wantonly spent cashola had to skip out on one of the week’s releases, and that poor sod ended up being the Sundance hit Dope, which bravely launched on 2,000 screens but could only manage $6 million for fifth place because, well, it went up against Pixar and dinosaurs.  I applaud the bravery of Open Road Films for putting a black film out there as an option for mainstream audiences, but they were never going to win this one.  Similarly failing to lift off, albeit in limited release, was the new David Gordon Green film, Manglehorn.  Even with Al Pacino apparently deciding to try this whole “acting” thing again to see what that was like, the film couldn’t really get butts in seats, possibly due to mediocre critic reviews, and it only made $13,000 from 3 screens.  But, hey!  This should hopefully not discourage Al Pacino’s decision to start acting again!  Last thing we need is him crawling back to Adam Sandler.

Fun Fact: I have seen all of Jack & Jill but only one Alfred Hitchcock film in the 20 years I have lived.  Why on earth do you people listen to what I have to say?


jurassic world 1

I don’t actually have any witty segway pun for this Full List, since I’m trying to stay dark on Inside Out.  So, here’s the thing, then, I guess.

Box Office Results: Friday 19th June 2015 – Sunday 21st June 2015

1] Jurassic World

$102,019,000 / $398,230,000

I think I am the only one of my Internet friends – cos I don’t have real friends with the exception of Lucy (*cries profusely*) – who actually likes this, which is always a good thing to have happen when you’re constantly paranoid that what you do and feel is wrong and that you’re bad for doing and feeling those things.  It’s especially more so in this case since, well, Jurassic World is actually a pretty terrible film, yet I like it anyway.  I dunno, maybe I’ll someday get lucky and not be so self-conscious.

2] Inside Out

$91,056,000 / NEW

Staying as in-the-dark as possible until it drops here at the end of next month, since this and Minions have basically swapped places on the release calendar for the UK.  I’m hoping that this will be as good as critics are saying… but critics also gave Monsters University a seal of quality and that was a massive disappointment, so Pixar are still on my Warning List for now.

And, yes, I am aware that a trailer has dropped for Kung Fu Panda 3.  Don’t send me it.  If I’m keeping myself in the dark for a film that I’m honestly not that excited for, then why do you think I would want to watch the trailer for a film that I am on tenterhooks for?

3] Spy

$10,500,000 / $74,374,000

So I feel like I’ve been acting a lot like Jason Statham in Spy whenever the subject of The Peanuts Movie is brought up for whatever reason.  Just me constantly and unfairly going “They’re gonna f*ck it up,” over and over and over and over again, totally blind, thanks to my own prejudices, to the idea that Blue Sky Studios may not actually f*ck it up.

Folks, and I say this with no hyperbole and complete sincerity, Blue Sky Studios may not have f*cked this up.

4] San Andreas

$8,240,000 / $132,229,000

This might end up one of the highest grossing films of the year.  It’s up to $414 million worldwide, after all.  I, err, really did not see this one coming.  OK, then.  Maybe we’ll get lucky and an actually good disaster movie will come from this?

5] Dope

$6,018,000 / NEW

Doesn’t come out here until September 5th, despite looking like as much of a Summer movie as they come.  Unless that was actually the plan all along and its UK distributor is taking advantage of the fact that our one nice week of Summer-like weather is going to come in September!  That’s genius, and I also want to know the secret to their psychic and weather-controlling powers!

6] Insidious Chapter 3

$4,110,000 / $45,370,000

Oh, God, It Follows is due on home media next week!  Guess I’m done putting it off and it’ll be time to watch a film that I know I will love but which will undoubtedly cause me to not sleep for at least three weeks afterwards!  I hate being a wuss.

7] Pitch Perfect 2

$3,300,000 / $177,500,000

Pitch Perfect 3 is officially happening.  I personally think that this is really stretching it, and I say that as a huge fan of the second instalment, but we’ll see when the film comes out, I guess.  Besides, if they’re going to use this as an opportunity to correct the race problems that these films do have, then that’s alright by me.

I mean, they probably won’t, they’ll likely just do number 2 again, but I can hope, can’t I?

8] Mad Max: Fury Road

$2,815,000 / $143,602,000

…I’m out of things to say about this movie, by now.  Or, at least, things to say in the tiny space that I get each week.  Needless to say, I still doubt that anything will surpass it for my Film Of The Year, it’s amazing, and that’s that.  So… yeah.

9] The Avengers: Age of Ultron

$2,723,000 / $451,039,000

Never did get to see this again, sadly, such is the life of somebody who is just terrible at time-management.  Or, more specifically, realising how long stuff actually takes to do.  Since I’ve written something close to 250 or-so articles of similar excessive length in the past two years, you’d think that I’d know how long it takes for me to write one of the damn things by now.

10] Tomorrowland

$2,009,000 / $87,696,000

Tomorrow!  Tomorrow!  This film might not suck, tomorrow!  But it’s always a day away!

Dropped Out: Entourage (AND STAY THE FUCK OUT), Love & Mercy

Callum Petch took a holiday, seven sweet days in Majorca.  Listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio (site link) and follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

Failed Critics Podcast: TV Special 2.5

true detectiveWelcome to possibly the most offensive, extraordinarily explicit episode of the Failed Critics Podcast to date. Which probably suggests our guests this week need no introduction! But for the sake of posterity, hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes are joined by Andrew Brooker and Paul Field.

To tie into last week’s release of Entourage: The Movie, a spin-off from the popular HBO series, “the boys” have turned this episode into a TV Special. Not quite a full continuation of the first two entries to our previous TV Specials (part 1 & part 2), this is more like a TV Special 2.5 with a full third entry coming in the next few months.

In it, the quiz gets a TV-make-over, the team talk about what TV shows they’ve been watching lately and we have a full review of the Entourage film. We’re even releasing this episode a couple of days early as it will take you a week to finally finish listening to it as it comes in at an impressive (daunting?) 1 hour and 45 minutes long.

Join us again next week as Callum Petch joins us to review the animated comedy Minions, a spin off from the highly successful and popular Despicable Me franchise.

LISTEN VIA ACAST FOR THE MOST INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE

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Entourage: The Movie

by Andrew Brooker (@Brooker411)

entourage 1“I don’t wanna go back to Jersey bro! I like the weather out here too much.”

Ahh, bro-comedy; that form of with lower than sarcasm that seems to divide people completely down the middle. You either love or hate shows like Entourage, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that’s just said “meh, I don’t mind it” and have no real feelings on it either way.  Me? I love it. For me, Entourage did exactly what it said on the tin and offered a silly comedy show that was, for all intents and purposes, the guys version of HBO’s other stupid comedy show, Sex and the City.  And in a world where that abhorrent garbage gets a film adaptation, and a bloody awful sequel by all accounts, it seems only inevitable that Entourage will follow suit.

Following on directly from the last scene of the show’s eighth and final season, Entourage : The Movie throws us straight in where the TV show left off.  We meet Vince (Adrian Grenier), a pretty-boy movie star, right after his marriage, that lasted nine days, has ended.  Quickly joined by his friends on a massive yacht in Ibiza (an island who’s name no one seems to be able to pronounce) partying, as he always is and celebrating the end of his marriage by filling this massive boat up with girls. As we all would, I suppose?  Jumping straight back into work with freshly un-retired super agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) who is now running a studio and has a job for Vince.  Telling Ari that his next starring role needs to also be his directorial debut, the boys set off on their next big adventure, Vincent Chase’s “Hyde”, a Jekyll & Hyde retelling that, from what we see, looks like a sci-fi blend of The Matrix and Daybreakers. I’d certainly hand over money to watch it if it was real.

Jump forward eight months and this is where the bulk of our film happens.  Eric “E” Murphy (Kevin Connolly)’ Vincent’s closet friend and manager is waiting for his long-time not quite a girlfriend Sloane to give birth to their first child; Turtle, Vinny’s former driver and now tequila mogul and multi-millionaire is living the high life. Independently rich and still hanging with his friends because he can; and Johnny “Drama” Chase (Kevin Dillon) is still hanging his hopes on every job being the big one he needs to break into the big time.  Johnny’s doing ok though, he’s got a big part in Vince’s new film and, as we always do, we all think this will be the one.

But here’s the rub.  Vincent’s super sized blockbuster movie is having a few accountancy issues. It’s $15 million over the agreed upon budget and needs just a little more.  Photography is done, it’s in its final editing phase and Vinny needs a handout from their wealthy financiers to get it finished.  So now it’s Ari’s job, as it always was, to save his star’s arse and get the film that could ruin everyone attached to it if it flops, finished and in the can.  Standing in his way, are the money men, wealthy investor Billy Bob Thornton and his son, played by Haley Joel Osmont.

These are the guys that have invested in the studio and its movies and they are keeping those purse strings tied until they’ve seen the first cut of the film and taking a note or two from his directorial inspiration, Billy Walsh, Vincent isn’t letting anyone see it until it’s perfect.  With a promise of a screening, Thornton sends his son to Los Angeles to meet with the film’s director and star and work out a mutually agreeable fix for the company’s budgetary issues, Haley Joel Osmont, who spend his first scene wearing a pistol on his hip trying to convey a little bit of an edge.  But instead, he looks like an overgrown man-child who is out without his special helmet and running around with a toy gun and handcuff set on, is the man in control of whether or not the film gets the extra capital it needs and unfortunately, after a screening, has a few notes that he wants actioned before he’ll write a new cheque. Not least of all, he wants Drama’s supporting character cut and possibly recast before any money changes hands.  And so begins the longest and most challenging part of Vincent’s career to date.

So here’s the thing with Entourage: The Movie, it has a very, very specific audience. Fans of the TV show.  Writer/director/show creator Doug Ellin does an amazing job of explaining eight years of the HBO show in an exposé episode with Piers Morgan just after the titles roll that details all the important bits you need to know. Essentially it’s my Beginner’s Guide, in video form, presented by a douchebag!  I have to say, I was impressed. I’ve read interviews with Ellin that state that you don’t need to be a fan or have ever seen an episode to watch the film and was curious as to how he could pull it off. Now I don’t necessarily agree that you can go in blank and enjoy the film as much as I did, but he did do a pretty damn good job in that respect.  But when all is said and done, it’s a film for those of us that loved the show. The same way Sex and the City was a pointless venture if you en’t a fan of the show, or at least knew a little bit about it, I would absolutely put Entourage into that category.

Now don’t get me wrong, the film is far from perfect and it has its fair share of issues and I would certainly argue that its “star” is one of them. Vincent Chase is about as likeable as an Ebola riddled monkey with the personality of a chewed tennis ball. Everything he does irks me. Whether it be the show or the film, his presence in this business that we all adore makes me want to punch him square in the face. Now I know he’s like that for a reason, I do. It’s clear his character is supposed to be a blank but pretty face to symbolise all those pretty boys that really do hump their way across Hollywood without any kind of comeuppance. No angry husbands, no random unwanted kids and no dick withering diseases and all of us wishing that we could be so lucky. But it doesn’t make his annoying traits any easier to swallow when he acts like the giant spoiled kid he is.

But for me, the film’s biggest problem lies in the fact that it’s a film. Not that it was made, I wanted it made. But that it is a feature length film. I think this film would have been much better served as Entourage – Season 9. It’s the perfect length for it and has essentially covered all the bases a season of the show covered.  This could have easily played out as a comeback season (think 24: Live Another Day) and maybe led into a bit of a return for the show.  I mean, season one was eight 25 minute episodes, minus titles and credits and you can do the whole season in less than three hours. And that brisk story run through is what we get with the film, but it really didn’t need the big screen.

A TV outing would have meant that I didn’t come out feeling like the celebrity appearances had been forced down my throat.  And I’m a fan, I know which of those guys were regulars. God knows how people that haven’t seen the show are going to take it. Although, a few of the cameos did make me grin. Famous for his party attitude, New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski’s turn was hilarious and the brilliance of him being at the same party as Super Bowl rival Russell Wilson was nothing short of amazing from the point of an NFL fan. But some series regulars like Scott Caan and Gary Cole are notable by their absence and the film could certainly have been improved if it focussed a little less on the constant barrage of cameos.  Moreover, this is the second bloody film I’ve seen this year with Ronda Rousey in it, trying to act. Please, stop casting her to act. Rousey is a world class fighter and I have nothing but respect for her, but as an actress, she’s got the same acting chops as a monkey with a jar of peanut butter. Sorry Ronda, this career ain’t for you.

Entourage has been dividing audiences for years. Famously battered a few times by Tina Fey and her 30 Rock crew for being by douchebags, about douchebags, for douchebags and unfortunately it’s a subject matter and style of show that just pisses people off. I know I keep coming back to it, but when Sex and the City did the exact same thing in New York, it was lauded as an empowering feminist show and everyone should be taking note. But Entourage and its movie bring out the complete opposite views. People refuse to see it is the dumb bro-comedy that it is and in certain cold and lonely corners of the internet, to be the creator, a star of, or even a fan of the show is to be called a woman hating misogynist with no self respect. It’s a show, and a film, about lads just being lads, there’s nothing wrong with that. (For balance, both me AND my wife are fans of Entourage, with us both binging the show a couple of times a year)

The bottom line? Don’t watch the film if you’re not a fan. Why would you? If you don’t know anything about the show, you can easily enjoy the film if you go in realising that it’s not to be taken seriously. It’s self satirising silliness to be lapped up and enjoyed for what it is. If, however, you are a fan of the show, you don’t need me to tell you to watch it. You know what you’re walking in to and if you loved the show like I did, you’ll enjoy the film.  There’s no debate to be had, it’s a film for the fans and in that respect, it delivers everything I wanted. For those that want to drag us across the coals for being fans of Entourage; please feel free to toss off, you rancid fuckbags!

US Box Office Report: 12/06/15 – 14/06/15

People f*cking love dinosaurs, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Jurassic World made $204 million, making it the second biggest domestic opening weekend of all-time.

(*drops mic, leaves*)

(*walks back in*)

So, apparently, I have to write more than that for these things.  But, I mean, I’m slightly at a loss as to what to write.  That figure and those numbers kinda tower over everything else, grabbing the eye and the attention so totally that to talk about anything else feels like trying to hold a conversation at a party that’s about anything but the grizzly act of cannibalism that everyone just saw occur in the parlour room moments ago.  You know how ridiculous that opening is?  I ran the opening of Jurassic Park back in 1993 ($47 million) through an inflation converter, and the result ($77 million) was still nearly three times less than what Jurassic World just made.  I am at a loss to explain this, I really am.  Like, I knew that Jurassic Park was a beloved touchstone for a generation of moviegoers, and that everybody loves dinosaurs, but DAMN!

That said, it was not the only film making waves this past weekend.  For, in the land of the limited releases, it was time to unleash Me and Earl and the Dying Girl upon the world.  This year’s Sundance darling, having premiered to a standing ovation and winning the Grand Jury and Audience Prizes for Drama at the festival, critically beloved by most, and looking absolutely and totally motherf*cking INSUFFERABLY GODAWFUL, was launched in the Little Miss Sunshine slot to a pretty great success – $210,000 from 15 screens with a per-screen average of $14,000.  On any other weekend, that would be a per-screen average to kill for, but this was Jurassic World’s weekend and that film managed a per-screen average of $47,871 FROM 4,274 SCREENS.  So, dinosaurs beat sh*tty-looking try-too-hard indie dramedies in the public sphere!  This is information that makes me happy.

Finally, before we get into the part that matters, there’s the issue of Love & Mercy, the biopic of Brian Wilson that came out last week.  Now, as you may know, I didn’t talk about it last week or, in fact, any of the week’s limited releases as I was far too busy making easy jokes at the expense of Entourage – which, as I discovered about 8 hours after that post went live, was letting that film off was too easily – to report on them or the fact that United Passions only made $607 from 10 screens – side note: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (*continues like so for another 10 minutes).  Besides, I had the feeling that the supposedly great film would make an appearance in the Top 10 eventually, as it was too star-packed, too widely-released, and too critically-slathered to not break in at some point.  Well, it did!  This week, even!  So, there!


jurassic world 2015

This Full List found a way, the clever girl.

Box Office Results: Friday 12th June 2015 – Sunday 14th June 2015

1] Jurassic World

$204,600,000 / NEW

My review is over here, for those of you who are interested.  Ended up digging this one a whole lot, even though it’s got characters that might as well just be breadsticks, dialogue that’s on the level of a five year-old, and themes that are communicated on the same level as that of a first year film studies student with a distrust of the military.  But who cares about any of that when you have dinosaurs fighting each other and Chris Pratt – albeit minus any gratuitous shots of his abs, which is UNACCEPTABLE – both things I’ve wanted since I was 5 years-old?  Not me, that’s for certain!

2] Spy

$16,000,000 / $56,937,000

Very strong 45% hold between weekends, which is very good for an R-rated comedy that is being released in this utterly insane Summer season.  Can I also echo The Playlist’s demand that Melissa McCarthy gets a look-in for the Best Actress race come Oscar season?  She is absolutely phenomenal in this, and I guarantee you that she’ll have put in a better performance than at least half of the people whose names get trotted out in this year’s Battle of Apparently Lowering Standards.

3] San Andreas

$11,010,000 / $119,321,000

…hey, Hollywood.  Can’t help but notice that you haven’t gotten back to me about that goldmine of a film pitch that I gave you last week.  Tell me, do you have a negative disposition towards the act of making money?  Seriously, who doesn’t want to see Chris Pratt and The Rock solving crimes together in a buddy cop movie?  I know that America wants to see The Rock lay the smacketh down on a bunch of candy asses whilst Chris Pratt says something Burt Macklin, FBI-y before The Rock raises his eyebrow inquisitively and humanity collectively creams its pants and explodes in pure glee!

No, seriously, this is pure f*cking gold, Hollywood!  Hit me up about this!  I’ll even convince my actually talented writing friend to sell out his principles to help me write this script, as it is surely guaranteed millions upon MILLIONS of dollars and millions of dollars and millions of dollars!

4] Insidious Chapter 3

$7,300,000 / $37,371,000

Forgot to mention this last week as I was too busy… whatever I was doing last week, but now’s as good a time as any.  If you are writing a box office piece and use the phrase “scares up” when talking about the performance of a horror movie, quit.  Just quit.  Stop writing, resign from your position, and go and do something else with your life.  I am dead serious.  That phrase is so, so old and worn out, that even complete hacks will look at that and go, “Yeah, you absolutely put no effort into this whatsoever.”  I find it a personal insult that professional writers are paid money to be that lazy whilst I slave away trying to find new spins on material and new talking points every week for free.  So if you do use that phrase, quit.  Give your job to people who deserve it.

5] Pitch Perfect 2

$6,000,000 / $170,715,000

This has managed to jump up one place, this week.  People would rather see this again in its fifth week than Entourage in its second week.  Humanity is not totally doomed, folks.

6] Entourage

$4,340,000 / $25,870,000

I saw Entourage last Monday.  If it weren’t for the fact that Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is looming on the horizon like a strategically placed solid object aimed directly at one’s junk that you can’t avoid for whatever reason, I would feel very secure calling this the worst film I will see all year.  It is just so totally abysmal.  Brooker is still reviewing it for this site, but my thoughts were graciously housed by both Movieblort and my friend Charlize of HotMales.net.  They’re absolutely worth a read at either location, I genuinely believe it’s one of the best reviews that I have ever written.

7] Mad Max: Fury Road

$4,130,000 / $138,630,000

Goddammit, I’ve been too busy to find the time to see this a third time.  If I get lucky, it might hang around next week and I’ll be able to squeeze it between the new releases (otherwise known as the films I don’t give a sh*t about), but otherwise my chance has been and gone.  Sigh.  I’d say “at least I saw it twice”, but we all know that twice is nowhere near enough cinema-based viewings of Fury Road.

8] The Avengers: Age of Ultron

$3,641,000 / $444,743,000

I am excited and optimistic for Ant-Man.  There, I said it.  Revoke my “Film Critic” pass if you want, I don’t give a sh*t.  It’s the truth and it’s how I feel.

9] Tomorrowland

$3,417,000 / $83,607,000

OK, homework for us all: let’s all watch The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille prior to meeting back up next week.  We’re not actually going to talk about or do anything with them, it’s just always worth having seen those films.  Great?  Great.

10] Love & Mercy

$1,765,000 / $4,774,000

Here’s a scene from Walk Hard.  Go and watch Walk Hard.  This is not optional.

Dropped Out: Aloha, Poltergeist

Callum Petch only cares about that thing, that thing, that thing.  Listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio (site link) and follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

US Box Office Report: 05/06/15 – 07/06/15

America chose… wisely! Spy rules, Entourage drools, Insidious pulls… in crowds, OK, this headline has failed totally, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

I don’t think that I’m exaggerating when I say that this weekend’s box office battle was quite literally between good and evil.  On the side of good: Spy, the best comedy to come along in a year, and one that is quietly yet brilliantly progressive, boasting outstanding performances, and led almost entirely by excellent female comedians who are getting their deserved shots at the limelight.  On the side of evil: Entourage, a piece of pure f*cking garbage, based on pure f*cking garbage, made by and for pure f*cking garbage.  Except for Brooker, he’s alright.  The outcome of this fight would prove seismic, can good movies aimed at a female audience triumph over pure f*cking garbage aimed at dude-bros, humanity’s collective walking pieces of human f*cking garbage?

For once in this miserable cesspool that is humanity, good won out.  Good won out big!  Spy opened in first place with a very respectable $30 million.  Whilst that’s $9 million less than The Heat opened to in 2013, that is a very good number considering that Spy had mediocre to poor trailers and marketing, and had to open against a horror movie and Insidious Chapter 3.  Plus, considering the fact that the comedy landscape is free until Ted 2 at the end of the month, it’s guaranteed decent legs over the coming weeks!  We did it everyone!  We actually did it!  Everything is going to be OK!  It is all going to be O. K!

As for those terrifying journeys into worlds of misery populated by evil spirits who wish to do us all harm, Insidious Chapter 3 ended up the victor in that battle, bringing home a very good $23 million.  That’s admittedly still a very large drop from Chapter 2’s $40 million opening, and it was still very front-loaded, but Chapter 2 wasn’t released in the Summer and had absolutely no competition that weekend.  Besides, a $23 million opening for a horror movie is definitely not something to sniff at.  So I hope you’re all looking forward to being drowned in these apparently-great (?) films for years to come!  I have no idea why I wrote that so sarcastically, I shouldn’t get sniffy at good horror movies doing good business just cos I selfishly want their trailers to stop appearing before films that won’t give me mini-heart attacks due to my major wussiness.

And as for Vinny and the boys?  Well, Entourage blew hot steaming chunks.  And the box office of the film wasn’t so great either.  Over the three day weekend, it could only manage $10 million for a really pathetic $3,000 per-screen average.  “But the film opened on a Wednesday,” I hear you cry!  “Surely those extra two days will have provided an opening worthy of the once proud star of James Cameron’s Aquaman which is apparently a real thing that happens in Entourage at some point?”  Well, keep dreaming, brah, as Entourage’s five-day total stalled out at $17 million, which still left it stuck in fourth place!  The system works!  The terrible disaster movie failed!  Meanwhile, San Andreas took second with a shockingly great 50% drop between weekends.

I can keep making these awful jokes all day, folks.


spy

This Full List wants you to hug it out, bro.

Box Office Results: Friday 5th June 2015 – Sunday 7th June 2015

1] Spy

$30,000,000 / NEW

Saw it again on Friday night with a nice big crowd, which is exactly the way that one should experience a good comedy.  God, this film is so brilliant!  I’m actually tempted to check out Miranda, which has always looked like insufferable tripe to me, thanks to Miranda Hart’s brilliant performance in this.  I’m jealous of Paul Feig’s ability to assemble perfect casts with seemingly little effort, I really am.

2] San Andreas

$26,440,000 / $92,163,000

This is actually going to cross $100 million domestic by next weekend.  Gonna be honest, I did not see that coming at all.  Even after last weekend’s surprisingly great opening, I thought for sure that this would collapse spectacularly after word got out that it was really crap, but I guess Mr. The Rock holds way more sway than even I thought he did.  Of course, next weekend, everyone’s newest crush, Chris Pratt, arrives to take what’s his, so expect San Andreas to take a tumble.

Hang on a minute…  Million dollar idea: buddy-cop movie starring Chris Pratt and Mr. The Rock!  How has this not already been optioned?!  Call me, Hollywood!  I’ll have the script ready for you in a week!

3] Insidious Chapter 3

$23,000,000 / NEW

I will never see these movies.  I don’t hate them or anything like that, I’m just way too much of a wuss for jump-scare horror to ever want to see them.  I prefer my terror to come from constant unsettling wrongness instead of the film equivalent of a song by a bad Pixies imitator.  It’s not for me, and I’m OK with that.  It’s not ruining humanity.

4] Entourage

$10,420,000 / $17,805,000 / NEW

(*buries head in hands and makes strangulated noise of pure disgust*)  I have to see this tonight, and I really am not looking forward to it at all.  I had planned to watch as much of the show as I could have before seeing the film, but I only made it through 4 episodes before tapping out.  I couldn’t do it.  I just couldn’t.  They are all terrible people!  The show is so ragingly sexist it makes Love Actually look like f*cking Thelma & Louise!  There are no dramatic stakes, no actual satire, and no reason to care about any of these raging assholes!  WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE THIS?!

God, I have to follow Spy with this.  That’s like chasing down a delicious Ham and Turkey Subway with a Gin and Tonic comprised of vomit and dick cheese.

5] Mad Max: Fury Road

$7,970,000 / $130,804,000

This will collapse next week when Jurassic World comes a-calling, but it has now doubled its budget worldwide, pretty much guaranteeing an overall profit.  We’re all OK, folks.  We’re all OK.

6] Pitch Perfect 2

$7,700,000 / $160,982,000

There’s the big fall!  This will cross $250 million worldwide this week, and should also pass both The Spongebob Movie and Fifty Shades of Grey to become the fifth highest-grossing film of 2015 domestically by the time we reconvene next week, in any case.  I know that we film critics aren’t supposed to be interested in the business side of things, for whatever reason, but it still does my heart good all the same to see quality films rewarded with large stacks of cash!

7] Tomorrowland

$7,022,000 / $76,236,000

As a possible result of this film failing, Disney has cancelled production on Tron 3, like I needed even more reasons to strongly dislike this bad movie.  I mean, I’m not surprised – I am a legitimate and unironic Tron fan, I am used to disappointment by now – but I am still sad all the same.  Tron: Legacy was fun, dammit!  I need another Daft Punk score in my life, dammit!  YOU NEVER FORMALLY CANCELLED THE EXCELLENT TRON: UPRISING, DISNEY!  AT LEAST BRING THAT BACK!

8] The Avengers: Age of Ultron

$6,201,000 / $438,015,000

Age of Ultron has just passed the last Harry Potter to become the fifth highest grossing film of all-time worldwide.  Got a feeling the superhero boom isn’t going away for a while yet.  In fact, rather than having everyone moan about that again, can we maybe instead direct our ire at a recent glut of films that are actually even more interchangeable and irritating than superhero films?  I am, of course, referring to Young Adult Adaptations.  Yeah.  Why do I have to sit through seven thousand thinkpieces and complaints about comic book movies, yet the Divergents and Maze Runners of this world get by with nary a shrug of the shoulders?  Y’all do know that The Hunger Games existing doesn’t give this mostly-awful subgenre a pass, right?

9] Aloha

$3,300,000 / $16,342,000

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

10] Poltergeist

$2,850,000 / $44,452,000

(*in creepy horror movie child voice*) They’re leaving.

Dropped Out: Far From The Madding Crowd, Hot Pursuit, Home

Callum Petch wants to ride on a white horse.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

Entourage: A Beginners Guide

by Andrew Brooker (@Brooker411)

In a few days, HBO’s latest TV show to get the Sex and the City treatment finally hits our screens. Having been in theatres in the States for a few days, it’s been met with a complete spectrum of reviews. Some love it, some hate it and some are just kind of shrugging their way through conversations about it. I’ll let you know how I feel when I finally get around to seeing it. So now seemed as good a time as any to get a quick binge of the show out of the way to get it fresh in my mind before seeing the movie that seems to have taken forever to get made.

So I thought I’d turn my encampment on the couch for eight seasons of Entourage into a public service. Whether you’ve never seen the show before or need a lightning fast refresher on the lives of Vincent Chase and his entourage, I present to you my Beginners guide to Entourage.


The Main Character, and his *ahem* Entourage

entourageVincent Chase (Adrian Grenier)
New York boy who’s uprooted himself to move to Los Angeles and make it big as a movie star. We meet Vince on the day of the premiere of his first starring role and it’s all gravy from here on in. We spend the next eight seasons living his life’s ups and downs with him. Is one bad moustache away from looking like a 70’s porn star.

Johnny “Drama” Chase (Kevin Dillon)
Vincent’s older brother. He’s been in Hollywood for years and has been struggling through since day one. Hitting the bigtime is all he wants and it always seems just an inch away from his fingertips. Can be best described as an angry lovechild of an 80’s action movie cop’s sidekick and Victor Meldrew.

Eric “E” Murphy (Kevin Connolly)
Vince’s best friend and manager. The last of the boys to head out to La La Land and pretty much the only one with his head screwed on right. He spends most of his time trying his hardest to steer his friend’s career in the right direction.

“Turtle” (Jerry Ferrara)
Another childhood friend and Vince’s Driver. The very definition of a cling-on, Turtle is a man-child spending his time leveraging his friendship with Vince to get girls into his bed. Usually unsuccessfully. A full-time stoner, you’d be forgiven for thinking Turtle learned all he know about life from Kevin Smith movies.

Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven)
Vince’s brutal, cutthroat agent. Moves heaven and earth for Vince’s career, not always with the results or appreciation he wants. Fills close to 100 episodes with abuse, at everyone. Racist, homophobic, completely inappropriate, but somehow is the best part of the show. Guaranteed to make you laugh, then make you feel like a complete tosser for laughing!


The Supporting Cast

entourageSloan McQuewick (Emmanuelle Chriqui)
Daughter of Ari’s old boss and long-time on-again-off-again girlfriend of Vince’s manager, Eric.

Melissa “Mrs Ari” Gold (Perrey Reeves)
Ari’s long-suffering wife. The one person in the world that Ari is afraid of. Known only as “Mrs Ari” until the last few episodes of the show.

Lloyd Lee (Rex Lee)
Ari’s work wife. His PA and later a fellow agent who’s a target for a fantastic amount of abuse from Ari. One of the few people that can stand toe-to-toe with the super-agent and not collapse under the pressure.

Shauna Roberts (Debi Mazar)
Vince’s foul-mouthed publicist. A fearsome woman that can get almost anything she wants by swearing at someone. If I get to choose one superpower, that would be it!

Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro)
Eccentric filmmaker. Works with Vince on several projects across the years. Him and Eric never see eye-to-eye but work well together. The man is a complete psycho!


Season 1
We meet Vince and the boys on the morning of the premiere of “Head On”, Vince’s first starring role. Average reviews and bad decisions plague the Entourage in this first season. Against advice, Vince turns down a sure thing for his next project and instead fights to get himself on an indie flick with Sundance winning director Billy Walsh. Finishing up with a flight home to New York to film “Queen’s Boulevard”.
Key Episode: “The Script and the Sherpa” (Ep. 5) – In the middle of a desperate weed shortage, the boys are handed the Queens Boulevard script and ponder their future with the only source of pot in the town, a local Sherpa (Played brilliantly by Val Kilmer)

Season 2
Fresh back from New York, Vince is offered a huge studio movie in the form of Aquaman. Costume worries, director woes, studio interference and crazy fallout from Queen’s Boulevard all create tension amongst the make-shift family as they steam-roll towards a deal for the biggest film of the young star’s life. Dodgy press and a relationship with Mandy Moore almost sinks the project before it begins.
Key Episode: Sundance Kids (Ep. 7) – The boys convince James Cameron to come to the Sundance screening of Queen’s Boulevard to try and prove Vince’s worth as an actor while Drama and Turtle have the most unfortunate of accidents in their first ever threesome.

Season 3aquaman
Aquaman is a monster hit. Vince has scored the highest grossing movie of all time and can have the pick of any project he wants. The boys decide to go after the film they’ve been chasing for two years, “Medellin”, the Pablo Escobar story. The project hits the skids quickly when Warner Brothers want to film Aquaman 2 and doesn’t want their star playing a murdering drug kingpin.
Vince drops from Aquaman, loses Medellin and finds himself unemployed and fires Ari. Taking matters into his own hands, the boys sell everything they own and buy the rights to the Columbian epic themselves. Hiring Billy Walsh to direct and with Eric producing, the Entourage heads south to film.
Key Episode: The Resurrection (Ep. 18) – The neurotic Johnny Drama is extra wired as the premiere of his new network show is about to air. Avoiding reviews and news about what may be his last chance, Drama goes off the rails until the ratings roll in.

Season 4
A disastrous on-location shoot with a crazy director leave “Medellin” in a fog of bad rumours and awful press. Not helped when Billy refuses to show anyone a single frame of the film. An equally disastrous post-production leaves the film in a state of disarray. Against all advice, Walsh submits the film to the Cannes film festival and gets in.
Now a Cannes recognised production team, the boys join forces again for another big project, Silo.
Everything quickly goes out the window when everyone’s fears are realised as “Medellin” tanks at the Cannes screening. Booed from the theatre, Vince and the boys are left ponder their future.
Key Episode: The Cannes Kids (Ep. 12) Heading to Cannes to screen “Medellin”, Ari and the boys try to get a bidding war going between studios to have the film bought before the premiere screening. All looks great until their chickens come home to roost and the movie turns out to be an atrocious waste of film.

Season 5
The brutal backlash from Cannes has left Vince hiding out in Mexico avoiding the flak. Eric signs a couple of writers to his management company and sells their script, “Smokejumpers”, to Warner Bros. Vince’s woes with the studio are morbidly fixed when the head of the studio that hates him so much dies after arguing with Ari. With Dana Gordon now at the helm, Warner’s brings Vince in and, just for a while, gets his career back on track.
Disagreements between star and director force the shutting down of the massive film. The lads head back to New York to get away from Hollywood for a bit. Eric pushes for Vince to meet some people in the Big Apple and ends up losing his position as Vinny’s manager when things fall apart. In a last ditch attempt, E gets Vincent a role in Martin Scorsese’s latest feature, “The Great Gatsby”.
Key Episode: Gotta Look Up To Get Down (Ep. 7) – After Alan Grey dies on the golf course, Ari is offered the role of Studio head. Conflicted, the agent wheels and deals his way through the halls of power and pulls a bait and switch. Getting Dana Gordon on the board instead and getting Vinny his desperately needed co-starring role.

entourageSeason 6
Vince is on a comeback and is preparing to fly to Italy to film an Enzo Ferrari biopic. The lives of the Entourage all start to change. Eric gets a job offer from a big management company; Johnny screws up not only his long-running series job but a second job on the same day; Turtle takes a punt at running a limo company; Lloyd quits Ari’s reign and takes up residence as an agent elsewhere; while Ari gets the opportunity to buy his former agency and become the biggest entertainment entity in Hollywood.
Key Episode: Scared Straight (Ep. 11) – Ari’s former employer, Terrence McQuewick quietly offers the hotshot super-agent the opportunity to buy TCA. Suspicious, Ari hires his Private Investigator to get the dirt on Terrence, his divorce and his company and use it to leverage his former boss into a low-ball deal for the company.

Season 7
The seventh season sees the show take a dark turn. After a car accident on set, Vince finds himself popping painkillers like skittles and going completely off the rails. Getting in to a relationship with real-life porn star Sasha Grey and finding progressively harder drugs to put into himself.
Ari chases a dream of bringing an NFL team to Los Angeles but his mouth is getting him into trouble and he loses out to his nemesis Amanda Daniels and her new ally, Ari’s former employee Lizzy Grant.
Insane director Billy Walsh makes a return to the boy’s lives with plans to re-invigorate Drama’s career, not necessarily to Johnny Drama’s approval. Turtle turns his hand at becoming a tequila distributor.
Key Episode: Lose Yourself (Ep. 10) – Vince’s season comes to a Charlie Sheen-esque end in the season finale. Far too many drugs, far too much booze and finally meeting a woman with a strong personality sends the movie star spiralling. Ending in a fight at an Eminem album party, a hospital visit, an arrest and a quick ship off to rehab. It was bound to happen sometime.

Season 8
Fresh out of Rehab, Vince tries to get his life back on track in this final season. Opting less for acting and instead dragging Billy back into the industry that melted him down and getting him to direct Drama in a TV movie the former leading man has written while hidden away from the world.
Ari and Dana finally burn off some of that sexual tension that’s built up across the last seven seasons before Ari regrets the last 10 episodes and tries to patch things up with Mrs. Ari. Love stays in the air for the entourage as Vince chases and proposes to a Vanity Fair writer who ripped him a new hole and Eric gets desperate in his attempts to get Sloane back in his life. The curtain drops on the season, and the show, with Vince off to get married, with the boys in tow!
Key Episode: Home Sweet Home (Ep. 1) – Vince comes home from rehab shiny and sober and looking for a fresh start. A screenplay and fresh humility in hand, Vinny puts grand plans into motion to get his life right. The boys plan a party to celebrate but try very hard to keep it drug and alcohol free. Turtle’s effort to hide his pot smoking ends in the house being burned down!


There you have it. That should give you all you need to know to go in and not think you’re missing anything when Entourage finally releases in the UK. Of course, it’s a very short show. If you get on to it now, you can probably still get it done before release day.

US Box Office Report: 29/05/15 – 31/05/15

San Andreas is no busta, Aloha says Aloha to any semblance of money, Results can barely do one measly pull-up, I can’t even make up a terrible pun for Heaven Knows What cos it looks too miserable, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Prior to this weekend, it seemed very much like the box office was going to be extremely quiet until the release of Jurassic World in a fortnight.  After all, we all knew that Tomorrowland was going to bomb, Spy will do well but isn’t exactly going to light anything on fire, I know of only one human being who is (self-loathingly) excited for the Entourage movie and he works for this very website, and I know of no human beings who are clamouring for another frickin’ Insidious movie.  Post-Pitch Perfect and post-Mad Max, we basically entered a quiet period where little of interest was coming out and nothing was going to do particularly well or make for exciting headlines.

It turns out, however, that we all forgot one very important thing: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  So although San Andreas on paper looked to be a middling underperformer that would be collectively skipped because, goddamn, did this movie ever look (and was) excruciatingly boring, in practice the film stormed its way to number 1 with $53 million in ticket sales.  There’s also the fact that it’s an expensive-looking disaster movie released on a weekend where there was almost literally nothing else of note coming out against it, but I think we all know that this is entirely down to Dwayne Johnson.  I mean, the guy is just the best, isn’t he?  He’s the best.  I want him as my dad!

The “of note” was added onto that prior paragraph because San Andreas was not the only wide release of this past weekend.  That other one would be Aloha, the first film in almost four years from writer-director Cameron Crowe.  In case you hadn’t heard, the film is apparently utter garbage that even Sony heads hated which, combined with the fact that Cameron Crowe has only ever really broken out of being a cult filmmaker maybe twice (thrice if you want to count We Bought A Zoo) in his entire 25 year career, basically sealed its fate even with Bradley Cooper in the lead role.  It’s kind of a bomb, opening in sixth place with an estimated $10 million – that, for those of you playing along at home, is behind the third weeks of Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road, the second week of Tomorrowland, and the fifth week of Avengers.

In the land of limited releases, Mumblecore architect Andrew Bujalski took a tentative step towards making a mainstream movie with the Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, and Kevin Corrigan-starring rom-com-ish (I haven’t seen it yet so I don’t know how much it sticks to and how much it subverts formula) Results.  The public responded somewhat warmly, with the film finishing up the weekend with $13,000 from 3 screens, which isn’t too bad considering that it’s been on VOD since March 13th.  Meanwhile, pure-unfiltered-misery in the shape of Heaven Knows Whathere’s the trailer which, even with the obnoxious and ill-fitting Harmony Korine-style editing and soundtrack, gives as good an idea as any as to how miserable that film is going to make me – got off to a very good start with $15,000 from 2 screens.  I realise that doesn’t seem like much, but this is a movie about homeless heroin addicts that looks BLEAK AS F*CK.  So, yeah, I’m gonna chalk that up as a win.


san andreas

All this Full List had to do was FOLLOW THE DAMN TRAIN!

Box Office Results: Friday 29th May 2015 – Sunday 31st May 2015

1] San Andreas

$53,215,000 / NEW

Saw this on Saturday and I mostly agree with Steve, it’s not very good.  I think the cast really try and there are a few sequences that are pretty good, but mostly I just found this incredibly, mind-numbingly boring.  Oh, and loud.  Very, very loud.  It has got some fine Paul Giamatti overacting, though, so that’s worth something.

Also, yes, I do find the irony in the fact that Tomorrowland, a film that sermonises about our obsession with turning death and planetary destruction and disaster into harmless entertainment, was unceremoniously dumped from number one by a film that is exactly what the former spends 130 minutes railing against.

2] Pitch Perfect 2

$14,381,000 / $147,540,000

This has a surprisingly strong chance of surpassing Fifty Shades of Grey’s closing total of $166 million.  It’s barely $20 million away from it, already, and with its strong mid-week grosses it could hold onto that trajectory even when Spy drops next week.  Yay to all of this!  And, yes, I still do really like this movie and believe it to be better than the first.  Accept that I’m not budging, and let’s close the book on this issue.

3] Tomorrowland

$13,803,000 / $63,188,000

Yeah…  this…  this isn’t making its money back.  Not even close.  I really hope that the lesson Hollywood takes away from the failures of this and Jupiter Ascending is not that the public doesn’t want expensive original blockbusters.  It’s that we want good expensive original blockbusters.  Actually, that doesn’t quite work since Jupiter Ascending is a good expensive original blockbuster, but the sentiment is still the same.

4] Mad Max: Fury Road

$13,625,000 / $115,915,000

You know what?  I think I’m going to go and see this again this week.  You should too.  I don’t care if you’ve already seen it 5 times in 3 weeks, that’s still not enough times to fully appreciate this magnificent specimen of a film and you damn well know it!

5] The Avengers: Age of Ultron

$10,920,000 / $427,070,000

Gee, Box Office Mojo!  It sure would be great if I could find out how Age of Ultron is doing in China, the one market that actually matters for this movie, on a week-to-week basis!  But not knowing anything because you have decided to skip on the details of your detail-oriented website and dropped so hard in overall quality since Ray Subers left is fine too!  Really!  I love having to put in an unnecessarily large amount of work for what should instead be a fun little 75 minute writing exercise each week!  I’m not irritated at all!

6] Aloha

$10,000,000 / NEW

Bummed to hear this one sucks, but I guess I now know why I have to wait until September 1st – The UK’s Dumping Ground – to see it.  On an entirely unrelated note, I need to actually watch a Cameron Crowe film, since he’s one of those filmmakers I’ve heard great things about but never actually seen anything by (otherwise known as: Most Filmmakers).  I guess I’ll start with Pearl Jam 20, since Lucy will not stop going on about Pearl Jam, and go from there.

7] Poltergeist

$7,800,000 / $38,267,000

Told you this would sink like a stone.  At least Insidious: Chapter 3 can’t use this as a scapegoat defence if it underwhelms next weekend.  Side wish: please underwhelm majorly so I never have to be at risk of seeing an Insidious trailer again.

8] Far From The Madding Crowd

$1,420,000 / $8,362,000

Look, instead of watching this garbage, why don’t we all instead go and watch Thomas Vinterberg’s much, much, much better previous film The Hunt?  It’s got Mads Mikkelsen in it!  In fact, why don’t we all also just watch Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal TV series instead of this tripe?  I think we can all agree that both options are much better usages of our collective time than this walking gasbag.

9] Hot Pursuit

$1,370,000 / $32,351,000

Well, goodbye, Hot PursuitYou couldn’t even make back your $35 million budget, which would be sad if your film wasn’t apparently so excruciatingly terrible.  Don’t let the actually-good Spy knock you on your arse on the way out.  Spy, after all, deserves better than associating with wastes of space like you.

10] Home

$1,150,000 / $170,409,000

Wait, this actually made it to 10 weeks on the chart?!  And is the fourth highest-grossing film of the year domestically at time of writing?  Alright!  High fives and party poppers all round, folks!  Today is a very good day!  Now if Shaun The Sheep: The Movie could be somewhat of a success when it launches in America in August, that would be just peachy!

I know that that is never going to happen, just give me a few more seconds of blissful denial.

Dropped Out: Furious 7, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

Callum Petch is just trying to change the world.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!